Fishing Reports

Timmy Hortons Home Lake Pickwick Lake

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Caleb G 24 lbhis month the key to catching catfish is the cover of darkness. Wilson Lake will experience its warmest water temperatures of the year. High water temperatures and sunshine normally mean a slow cat bite and uncomfortable conditions for anglers as well. August is my favorite month to target flatheads. After the sun sets big flatheads come out to feed. The best bite is normally from about 10 pm to 2 am but they could bite at any time if conditions are right. To target these flatheads you will need some heavy tackle. I use 8 foot BnM Silver Cat rods spooled with 85 pound test Vicious braid and a 7/0 Daiichi bleeding bait hook. For bait I like live bream, gizzard shad, or small carp or suckers if available. The key is to maintain lively bait. If fishing near the dam, I use a slip float rig set about half way between the surface and the bottom. Large boulders and rock piles below the dam makes great hiding places for Flatheads. Also search for log jams and big trees in shallow water along the main lake. A flathead has a deifinte attraction to wood. If you can find wood cover with light nearby all the better. For numbers of fish, concentrate on the tailrace. Fish will group up below the dam in search of cooler and more oxygenated water. For best results here fish during peak generation which is normally in the late afternoon hours. By the end of this month the thermocline will begin to dissipate and fish will once again be found throughout the lake. In the lower lake region concentrate your efforts on points and ledges in 20- 35 feet of water. Here I would slow troll baits just off the bottom trying to stay on the same contour line.

July can be a tough month for cats on Wilson Lake. As the water warms near the 80 degree mark a distinct thermocline will develop in the across the lower half of the lake. It usually forms at 35 to 45 feet deep. When this happens the oxygen levels below that depth are not adequate to support fish for long periods of time. Your best bet will be to concentrate on the upper third of the lake in areas where current is the strongest. Fish the sides and bases of humps from Gargis Hollow to Wheeler Dam. Fish will pull up on the humps when the current is flowing and tend to rest along the sides when the water is still. Blow downs along bluffs will be good locations to search for catfish. The tree will provide shade from the summer sun. If you can find a tree in 15-25 feet of water it should hold fish. For smaller fish try fishing along the weed lines in the sloughs. In the early morning and late afternoon hours smaller fish will search the edge of the weed lines for snails, mussels, and other invertebrates. The headwaters of Shoals and Blue Water Creeks will also be good places to search for fish. Fish will gravitate to these areas in search of cooler water. This month cut your baits smaller in size. It’s a good time to experiment with stink baits and soured baits as well. Chicken livers and night crawlers are always good summertime baits.

This month look for catfish to be near shallow water. Historically, on Wilson Lake the catfish spawn runs from mid- May through the entire month of June. Few can be found spawning from just a few feet deep down to 30 feet or even deeper if the water remains clear. Last year we caught fish from 42 feet of water in early June with eggs being released when we landed them in the boat.

There will be two distinct patterns for fish this month. For larger fish, search for the bedding fish on flats and the tops of off shore humps in 15 to 30 feet of water. Good locations to try will be Hog, Peach, and Cox Islands. Also check the flats along the Turtle Point area, as well as the Eastern side of Shoals Creek near the mouth. I find more fish on softer bottoms at this time of year than rock or bluff lined bottoms. For bigger fish use large chunks of cut skipjack fished near the bottom with as light a sinker as possible.

For smaller fish start your search ½ to ¾ way up in the sloughs and creeks. Flats, long tapering points, and deep cuts along the bank will all hold some fish. Fish will search out weed beds, logs, and other cover to locate near while spawning. Make sure to fish any piers or boat houses with wooden post or large logs washed up underneath. One of my favorite ways to catch these fish is to cast a BoJoLe flutter spoon or a 1/0 Mister Twister weed less worm hook with a small piece of shrimp or strip of cut bait. Both rigs allow me to present my offering in heavy cover and snags with minimum hang ups. For trip information visit www.brianbartonoutdoors.com or call 256-412-0969.

May is without a doubt the number one month of the year to catch numbers of fish on Wilson Lake. Fish can be caught from dam to dam in water as shallow as 3 feet and down as deep as 80 feet. If the dams are generating current the tailrace below Wheeler dam is hard to beat. Bump bottom with small pieces of cut bait, crawlers, shrimp, or shad guts to catch a cooler full of cats. Fishing is good from the power line down to the mouth of Town Creek. In the mid lake region try humps and islands in the 20 to 40 foot range. Fish will be on top or front of the humps when current is flowing. In slack current try the bases and backsides of the structure. This is the area your most likely to tie into a trophy fish. Make sure your using good quality equipment like BnM Silver Cat rods and Vicious braided line. I like the 80 pound test Hi Vis Yellow when hooking up with big fish. Make sure at least one rod is baited with a whole shad or fist size chunk of cut bait.

On the lower end Sholas Creek will still produce fish. The large flats in the mouth and along the creek channel toward Highway 72 bridge should load up with spawning fish. Here start your search in 10 to 15 feet of water and work deeper to you locate aggressive fish. On the South side of the lake McKernan Creek and all the major sloughs will hold a few fish. Search for flat or gradual sloping bottoms with rock or pea gravel. These are the area the blue ctas will set up on to spawn. Also, historically I have found more fish on the East side of these sloughs than the West with all other factors being equal. Slow troll or anchor down both will produce fish in these areas. For trip info contact Brian Barton at www.brianbartonoutdoors.com.

When fishing for catfish in April on Wilson Lake you only need to remember one word “bluffs.” For whatever reason this month catfish group up along bluff walls from one end of the lake to the other. Channel catfish will be spawning on the top shelves near the bank in 2 to 15 feet of water. When these fish go to their bedding areas you can fill a cooler quickly once they are located. To catch these fish I use a 7 foot medium action BnM spinning rod spooled with 8 pound Vicious mono and a Mister Twister weighted worm hook. I rig a small piece of shrimp, rooster liver, or prepared cheese bait on the hook weed less and cast it all the way to the shoreline. Let the bait remain still for about 30 seconds, if no strike, slowly raise your rod tip and move the bait a few feet and let it sit again. Repeat this action till your bait falls off the bluff ledge then reel in and cast again. Most often strikes occur immediately after the bait comes to a stop.

For blue catfish back away from the bank and search for them in 15 to 50 feet of water. As a general rule the fish in less than 20 feet of water will be near the bottom, while those in deeper water tend to be more suspended. These fish will average 1 to 10 pounds in size. Drive along the bluff until you locate good numbers of fish on your electronics. Make sure and note the depth you’re seeing most of the fish. Once the average depth is established slow troll .2 to .5 mph back across the fish setting your baits at the depth you saw the fish on your electronics. This is where reels with line counters or line counters that attach to your rod are critical. For blues nothing beats fresh cut skipjack or shad. Fresh shad minnows will also work if their kept iced so they remain firm. Fish the bluffs on Wilson lake this month and there should be no shortage of fish for your next fish fry. For trip information contact Brian Barton at www.brianbartonoutdoors.com.

 
 

Pickwick/Wilson Lake Fishing Guide

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